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War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History: 1500 to Today Hardcover – October 19, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham; First Edition edition (October 19, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592402224
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592402229
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #582,078 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

From bronze cannons to smart bombs, this engaging study examines the impact of new weaponry on war by spotlighting exemplary battles, including famous epics like the defeat of the Spanish Armada and the attack on Pearl Harbor along with obscure clashes like the 1898 Battle of Omdurman, in which a British colonial force mowed down Sudanese tribesmen with machine guns. Boot (The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power) gives due weight to social context: advanced weapons don't spell victory unless accompanied by good training and leadership; innovative doctrine; an efficient, well-funded bureaucracy; and a "battle culture of forbearance" that eschews warrior ferocity in favor of a soldierly ethos of disciplined stoicism under fire. These factors flourish, he contends, under a rationalist, progressive Western mindset. The author, a journalist and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, enlivens his war stories with profiles of generals from Gustavus Adolphus to Norman Schwarzkopf and splashes of blood and guts. Boot distills 500 years of military history into a well-paced, insightful narrative. (Oct.)
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Review

Readable and informative, this book provides a valuable overview of how military innovations can abruptly affect the course of history. Highly recommended. -- Library Journal

War Made New is impressive in scope. What is equally impressive is its unique interpretation of the causal relationship between technology, warfare and the contemporary social milieu. This is a superb thinking-person's book, which scrutinizes conventional historical wisdom through a new lens. -- Lt. Gen. Bernard E. Trainor, USMC (ret.), coauthor of Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq

From Drake's ships harrying the Armada up the Channel to U.S. Special Forces deploying in the mountains of Afghanistan, Boot's narrative takes the widest possible view, yet it always crackles with fascinating detail and swift, adept character sketches. Drawing examples from scores of battlefields, War Made New show how nations have seized technological opportunities, or failed to do so at the steepest imaginable cost. Boot makes events from the dawn of the gunpowder era as immediate to contemporary America as is the treat of terrorist attack, all the while telling a story as enthralling as it is significant. -- Richard Snow, Editor, American Heritage

Magisterial. -- The Weekly Standard

Max Boot traces the impact of military revolutions on the course of politics and history over the past 500 years. In doing so, he shows that changes in military technology are limited not to war fighting alone, but play a decisive role in shaping our world. Sweeping and erudite, while entirely accessible to the lay reader, this work is key for anyone interested in where military revolutions have taken us-and where they might lead in the future. -- U.S. Senator John McCain

Max Boot's book takes hundred of years of tactical battle history and reduces it to an incisive narrative of how war has changed. By providing such a coherent view of the past, he has pointed us toward the future. What is doubly impressive is how he draws surprising, fresh lessons from wars we thought we knew so much about but in fact didn't. -- Robert D. Kaplan, author of Imperial Grunts

Mr. Boot is ably filling the role occupied for many years by John Keegan, the famed British author of classics like "The Face of War" and "The Mask of Command." Both use a similar approach: Illustrate broad military trends with specific examples, and embed the analysis in an entertaining historical narrative accompanied by commentary. Fans of Mr. Keegan's will enjoy Mr. Boot. -- Bruce Berkowitz, New York Sun

Never does he bog down in detail--and never does he lose sight of the fact that without good people, good weapons are useless. Boot has bitten off a big chunk of history. But thanks to his knowledge of the facts and his skill in setting them down, he has served up a first-class book. -- St. Louis Post Dispatch

The subject of military transformation is one that is difficult to make interesting -- some think it impossible -- but the book is not just interesting, it is compelling. -- Powerlineblog.com

While much has been in written in recent years about the so-called 'Revolution in Military Affairs,' Max Boot is the first scholar to place it within the broad sweep of history, and in the context of the rise of the West in world affairs since 1500. In so doing, he not only tells a remarkable tale, but he compels us all, even those obsessed solely with contemporary military affairs, to ask the right questions and to distinguish what is truly new and revolutionary from what is merely ephemeral. He has rendered a valuable service, and given us a fascinating read at the same time, so we are doubly in his debt. -- Paul Kennedy, Professor of History at Yale University and author of The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers

More About the Author

Max Boot is one of America's leading military historians and foreign-policy analysts. The Jeane J. Kirkpatrick senior fellow in national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, he is the author of two-widely acclaimed books: "The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power" and "War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History, 1500 to Today." His latest book--"Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present"--will be coming out in January 2013. He is also a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and many other publications. He has advised military commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan, and his books have been assigned reading by the military services. He has been called "a master historian" by the New York Times and a "a penetrating writer and thinker" by The Wall Street Journal. For more information, see www.maxboot.net.

Customer Reviews

It would be cheap to claim that the French were stupid . . . and wrong.
Dr. John Muller
In sum, military transformation and the RMA is a concept informed readers of history and current events ought to be well acquainted with.
T. Graczewski
Boot makes clear how dramatically the "Information Revolution" has changed the face of warfare.
Jerry Saperstein

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By T. Graczewski VINE VOICE on April 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A decade ago, the defense policy community was a buzz about an emerging "Revolution in Military Affairs" (RMA) - a discontinuous change in the nature of warfare generated by the information revolution whose potential was so clearly demonstrated by the overwhelming advantage that precision guided munitions and operational awareness conferred to US forces in the Gulf War of 1991.

Today, the increasingly low-tech, irregular nature of the current Global War on Terror and, more recently, the frustrating experience of counterinsurgency in Iraq, have seemingly diminished the importance of the RMA and discredited its most vocal proponents. This is unfair and unfortunate as the notion of periodic, major transformational change in military technology and operational capabilities is certainly sound. Moreover, it is a concept that anyone serious about military history or international affairs ought to be familiar with and consider seriously. There is no better introduction to the topic than "War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History, 1500 to Today" by Max Boot.

There are several reasons to recommend "War Made New." To begin with, author Max Boot is a superb talent and, in many ways, was the ideal person to write the first general overview of the RMA concept and a sampling of the many historical case studies that support the theory. As a long-time lead defense reporter for The Wall Street Journal, Boot possesses a sophisticated understanding of current defense policy and national security strategy. Better yet, he writes with the same engaging and lucid style of other defense journalists that have written best-selling full-length books, such as David Halberstam, Tom Ricks, and Neil Sheehan.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Saperstein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Max Boot has written a fascinating account of the impact of technology on war over the past five centuries. In turn, although peripherally for the most part, Boot also examines the impact of war on various societies during the same period. Boot breaks the period down into four technological revolutions: gunpowder, the first and second industrial revolutions and finally the advent of the information age.

To establish perspective, Boot begins with the campaign of France's Charles VIII to take Italy. The innovation was the creative use of artillery to batter down fortress walls. Boot' point is that though cannon had been around for a while, it was the innovative use of them that changed the face of warfare and, at the same time, the nature of Italian social structure by dooming the city-state.

Boot is careful to point out that military technology is not the only factor to consider, but rather that the deployment of technology was not a certainty and that generally the first force to effectively implement technology revolutions generally gained dominance for some time.

To illustrate his point, Boot uses twelve battles, most of them essentially forgotten by all except the student of history. Boot is a masterful writer. To illustrate the rise of the gunpowder age, he writes of the defeat of the Spanish Armada, the battle of Breitenfeld and Lutzen and, most illuminatingly, the battle of Assaye in 1803. In the latter example, Boot shows how the adoption of gunpowder by the Europeans led in turn to its ability to colonize and dominate the planet.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By James Chase on March 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
If you have read Jared Diamond's book, "Guns, Germs, and Steel", Max Boot's book "War Made New" is a must read to help further explain why western civilization came to dominate the world in the late 19th century. The book is well written and explains why major battles had the outcome they did.

Not only are the battles explained but the social organization of the countries participating in the battle are also discussed, which helps explain that not only were the weapons used, a major cause for the resulting battle, but the social norm of the country played a major role in determining the battles outcome.

Example, how could Japan go from a feudal country in the mid 19th century to a major naval power in the early 20th century, defeating Russia in a major naval engagement off the coast of Korea and Japan? Mainly by the Japanese society making a 90 degree turn in their thinking and actively pursuing industrialization.

I highly recommend this book, not only for its history but also to help explain the world politics today.

Jim
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful By John Steele Gordon on November 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
War Made New is one of the best books I've read this year.

The book covers the technological revolutions that have swept through military history in the last 500 years, beginning with the gunpowder revolution at the end of the Middle Ages that concentrated military power in the hands of kings, as the nobility largely could afford neither cannon nor the rebuilding that was necessary to keep medieval castles from being sitting ducks for those cannon.

The first industrial revolution, beginning in the 19th century, brought far larger armies, thanks to much more rapid economic growth; more rapid movement and better command and control, thanks to railroads and the telegraph; more potent arms such as the Maxim and Gatling guns, and far more powerful battleships.

The second industrial revolution brought, tanks, aircraft carriers, and heavy bombers.

The information revolution of our own time brought smart bombs, stealth aircraft, and vastly improved communications.

Each of these revolutions altered the balance of power in favor of those countries that were the first to exploit them effectively, such as the English defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 or the blitzkrieg tactics that overwhelmed France in 1940.

American mastery of information technology allowed the 1991 Gulf War to be a cakewalk and yet, fifteen years later, what is, militarily, the only significant country in the world is struggling mightily against enemies in Iraq that are not even nation-states, for the new information technology and electronics can be exploited effectively and cheaply by them. And the United States military, especially the elephantine Pentagon bureaucracy, has been reluctant to develop the needed skills and expertise in counter-insurgency warfare.
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